The Rob Roy is a cocktail made with Scotch whisky (without an e) which is actually not a good idea. Scotch—blended, single malt, whatever—has too strong and distinctive a nose and taste to play well with others. But where there is alcohol, there will be cocktails, and Scotch is no exception. The Rob Roy was created by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in 1894, they say, in honor of the premiere of an operetta called Rob Roy. Rob Roy, of course, was a Scottish folk outlaw and hero, who, like Jesse James and Butch Cassidy, battled the greedy rich. We can all relate. The New York Times reviewed Rob Roy the operetta, calling it “clean, frank, manly, bright, and winsome.” Sounds like a cocktail to me. The IBA doesn’t offer a standard recipe, but this one is typical.
2.5 oz. Scotch
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir, strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a cherry.
“I did a play on a Rob Roy with Hakushu 12-year-old Scotch, port and sweet vermouth that was way yummy. Sadly, I don’t know that we’ll ever get Hakushu back in the state, but it was fun working with a Japanese whisky. (Ed. Note: That’s whisky without an “e” which means Scotch, but this is made in Japan, so it’s not quite Scotch. Nevertheless, in recent blind tastings, Japanese whisky has taken honors over its Scottish inspiration.)
See the other Classic Cocktails:
See more inside our 2017 September/October Issue.